Background Literature recognises the benefits of mindfulness practice on resilience, self-care and emotional intelligence. Front line hospice staff are at risk of compassion fatigue and burnout. An opportunity allowed us to assess the impact of an 8 week course on the well-being and self-compassion of hospice staff and volunteers.
Method A mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) course was developed encouraging participants to re-evaluate their responses to challenging situations and promoted self-care and compassion. Courses were open to all interested hospice staff and volunteers. Six courses were delivered over a ten month period. Participants completed pre and post-course Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS) questionnaires and provided free text reflection.
Results Courses involved 80 participants and four facilitators. Groups were ‘closed’ for the duration of the course; participants had a wide variety of roles within the hospice. WEMWBS maximum possible score=70, minimum=14; National average=53 (Health England Survey 2011)
53 completed pre and post questionnaires were matched and analysed.
Average pre-course score=45.1 (range 20–63), average post-course score=54.5 (range 35–68)
87% rated the course as of significant benefit.
98% planned to maintain a mindfulness practice.
Free text feedback was considerable and included:
‘I feel much calmer, supportive of others and it has stopped me from over-thinking situations that I can’t change’
‘Using different tool to adapt to the time you have’
‘Being aware of thoughts and refocusing’
‘Thank you for showing me I am important too and that only I can change things’
Conclusions Both WEMWBS scores and free text feedback suggest significant perceived benefit to participants. Feeling valued and more resourceful when faced with challenging situations are common themes. Long term benefits to participants and impact on patient care are still to be measured.
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